The Nakasendo is the ancient highway between Kyoto and Tokyo and has become a popular route for tourists, particularly from Australia and the UK. Many walk the more scenic parts of the road. But why walk when you can run? As part of a tourism promotion campaign with Go Central Japan, Susie Chan, a British endurance runner, ran and cycled 150km of the 500km road.
She was supported by many Nambanners. In Kyoto, Keren Miers acted as pathfinder joined by Ashley Harvey as Susie completed the first leg from Kyoto to Otsu. This was a lovely 13km run out of Kyoto along the Biwa canal to the shores of Lake Biwa.
From Otsu Ashley took over pathfinding duties. For the next three days we cycled and ran along the shores of Biwa to the Castle town of Hikone then heading into Gifu. We stopped off at the famous Samurai battle site of Sekigahara, where Susie insisted on dressing up as a samurai. We then ran from Natsugawa (Gifu) to Tsumago (Nagano), one of the most picturesque parts of Japan.
On November 29 Susie made her grand entrance on the final part of the Nakasendo — Itabashi to Nihonbashi. Here, on home territory, Namban turned out in force. David Sweet was in charge of pathfinding duties and led us to the final section of the Nakasendo.
On the run Susie was surprised we did not meet more runners. Many of the segments we did are easily accessible and would make a great weekend. Please let me know if you ever want to run some of this route again as I would be happy to join! Ashley Harvey: firstname.lastname@example.org.